Open NGO letter regarding the critical funding gap affecting UN human rights mechanisms and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (2023)

To: All Permanent Missions to the United Nations in Geneva and New York

Cc: UN Secretary General

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Chairpersons of the Human Rights Treaty Bodies Coordination Committee of UN Special Procedures

Open NGO letter regarding the critical funding gap affecting UN human rights mechanisms and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

It is with a sense of urgency that we convey our deep concern regarding the critical funding situation affecting the UN’s human rights mechanisms and OHCHR. We understand that the combination of delays in payments of UN member states’ assessed contributions to the regular budget and the 25% cut to travel of UN representatives, including treaty body experts and Special Procedure mandate holders, and other budget cuts (2018-2019) may adversely impact on the capacity of various human rights mechanisms to carry out their mandates effectively.

In April, the Chairpersons of the 10 human rights treaty bodies were informed that due to the financial situation, the autumn 2019 sessions of six treaty bodies may need to be cancelled. Not only is the cancellation of treaty body sessions deeply worrying as it may involve cancellation of reviews already scheduled and delay decisions on individual communications pending before the Committees but it also sends a troubling message ahead of the 2020 treaty body strengthening discussions. This unprecedented development would come as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 40th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

We understand that other independent expert mechanisms such as the Special Procedures, and other mechanisms created by the Human Rights Council such as Fact-Finding Missions and Commissions of Inquiry, may also be hampered in carrying out their mandates to monitor and investigate human rights violations.

As of 10 May, only 44 UN member states had paid all their assessments due to the UN. We would like to commend Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, China, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Malawi, Malaysia, Monaco, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Rwanda, Samoa, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Sweden, Switzerland and Tuvalu for having done so. 98 member states had paid their regular budget assessments by 20 May 2019.

The failure to pay assessed contributions is only the latest in a worrying trend of shortfalls and cuts affecting the UN budget allocated to its human rights mechanisms. In the 2018-2019 budget the General Assembly made adjustments to reduce the resources for experts by 15 per cent, reduce the travel of representatives by 25 per cent, and reduce resources for travel of staff by 10 per cent, all without taking into account the disproportionate effect these decisions would have on the UN’s human rights mechanism. Only 3.7 per cent of the total UN regular budget is currently allocated to OHCHR. We are extremely concerned by reports that the funding gap may affect the functioning of OHCHR and the human rights mechanisms in 2020 and beyond.

Against the worrying background of a global push back against the promotion and protection of human rights, we urge all UN member states to:

  • Pay their assessed contributions without further delay, unless they have already done so, in order to assure the functioning of the UN’s human rights mechanisms.

  • Prioritise securing adequate funding for the UN’s human rights pillar, with the promotion and protection of human rights being also indispensable to development, peace and security.

  • Initiate, in due time ahead of the 2020-2021 budget negotiations, discussions on how to reverse the trend of reduced regular budget for OHCHR and assuring that the UN’s human rights mechanisms are not disproportionately affected by over-all cuts to the UN budget, including by restoring the budget allocation for travel of representatives for these mechanisms.


A 11 - Initiative for Economic and Social Rights

Abogados y abogadas del Noroeste argentino en derechos humanos y estudios sociales (Andhes)

ACADHOSHA (Action des Chrétiens Activistes des Droits de l'Homme à Shabunda)


ACAT Belgium ACAT Canada ACAT Congo ACAT Ghana ACAT Italia

ACAT Luxembourg ACAT Tchad ACAT- Benin ACAT- NIGER

ACAT-Brasil ACAT-Burundi ACAT-Cameroun ACAT-France ACAT-Switzerland ACAT-USA

Action femme de valeur

Action Jeunesse pour le Développement

Action on Child, Early and Forced Marriage

ActionAid International Activist

Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

Addu women’s Association (AWA)

Adska ong

Advocacy for women in peace and security- Africa

Afghan Women Network

Afghan Women News Agency Organization

Afghan women Skills Development Center

Agir Ensemble pour les Droits de l'Homme (AEDH)

Aid Organization

Al-Zahraa: Organization for the Advancement of Women


All Okinawa Council for Human Rights

Allamin Foundation for Peace and Development

Alliance Globale contre les Mutilations Génitales Féminines

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Amnesty International ALQST for Human Rights

Arab Women Network for Parity and Solidarity

Articulación Feminista Marcosur


Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)

Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body (AMCB-IMA)

Asociace romskych predstavitelu Libereckeho kraje z.s.

Asociación Ciudadana ACCEDER

Asociación de Mujeres Afrodescendientes de Yolombo - ASOMUAFROYO.

Asociación de Mujeres Afrodescendientes del Norte del Cauca- ASOM

Asociacion Tesai Reka Paraguay

assiwar--the feminist arab movement

Associace Romskych Rodicu z.s.

Association "MARTA Centre"

Association for Civil Rights in Israel

Association for Cultural and Media Activism QUEER SQUARE Skopje

Association for Emancipation, Solidarity and Equality

Association for thé Prevention of Torture

Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID)

Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons

Association for Progressive Communications (APC)

Association of War Affected Women

Association of Women for Action and Research

ASTRA-Anti trafficking action


Avocats Sans Frontières France

Awen Amenca z.s. Bahamas Crisis Centre

Bahrain Center for Human Rights


Bairo Pite Clinic Lanud, Timor-Leste

Balance Promoción para el Desarrollo y Juventud AC

Better World Campaign

Beyond Beijing Committee

Blind Women Association, Nepal (BWAN)

Botswana Watch Organization

Breakthrough Trust

Bridgebuilders Trust

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

Cambodian Center for Human Rights ("CCHR")

Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children

Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network


Center for Justice and International Law

Center for Legal Civic Initiatives

Center for Media, Data and Society, Central European University

Center for Reproductive Rights

Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL)

Centre Catholique International de Genève

Centre for Civil and Political Rights

Centre for Indigenous Cultures of Peru

Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging, The University of East London

Centre for Social Concern and Development (CESOCODE)

Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres (CEDEHM)

Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas AC

Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez

Centro de derechos humanos pasó del Norte

Centro de estudios de la mujer

Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS)

Child Rights International Network

CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality

Church of Norway Council on Ecumenical and International Relations


CIVICUS: World Alliance for citizen participation

Civil Rights Defenders CKLP


Coalition Burkinabe des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (CBDDH)


Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies

Coast Education Centre (COEC)

COC Nederland

Colectiva Ciudad y Género ac

Collectif des Assoications Contre l'Impunité au Togo CACIT




Comisión de Derechos Humanos - COMISEDH

Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos

Comité de América Latina y el Caribe para la Defensa de los Derechos de las Mujeres

Comité Víctimas Lesa Humanidad y Graves Violaciones DDHH Ecuador

Committees for the defense of democracy freedoms and Human Rights in Syria(C.D.F)

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)

Community Work Ireland

Conectas Direitos Humanos


Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd

Congrès Mondial Amazigh

Consorcio para el Diálogo Parlamentario y la Equidad Oaxaca A.C.

Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas

Contra Nocendi International

Cook Islands National Council of Women

cooperation committee for Cambodia (CCC)

Coordinadora de la Mujer

Coordinadora Lesbica y de Hombres Trans- Republika Libre

Corte suprema de justicia

Cotidiano Mujer, Uruguay CROISADE-NIGER

Czech Women's Lobby /

Česká ženská lobby

Dalit NGO Federation (DNF), Nepal

Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies

Darfur Network for monitoring and Documentation

Defence for Children International

DefendDefenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)

Dejusticia Democracy Today

Democratic Party, Hong Kong

Director, Comparative Governance and Policy Research Cente, Department of Government & International Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University

DIVA for Equality Dóchas

Dominicans for Justice and Peace

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Dutch CEDAW Network Earthjustice

Echoes of Women in Africa Initiatives

ECPAT France

Edmund Rice International

Education Coalition Equality Now

European Center for Not- for-Profit Law

European Network of People of African Descent


European Roma Rights Centre

Fédération Euro- Méditerranéenne contre les Disparitions Forcées - FEMED

Feminist Legal Clinic Inc.

Femmes et Droits Humains


First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada


Fondazione Pangea onlus

Foundation Ultimate Purpose


Freelance Fundación Arcoiris

Fundación de Mujeres Luna Creciente


Gender Alliance for Development Centre

Gender and Sociology

Gender Equality Network

Geneva for Human Rights (GHR)

Geten, Center for LGBTIQA People's Rights


Global Detention Project

Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Culural Rights

Global Network of Sex Work Projects

GQUAL Campaign Greek Helsinki Monitor

Groupe d'action pour les droits de la femme

Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)

Gypsy Cooperative Uk Gypsy Council

Hazte Visible A.C. HCLU

Health and Human Rights Info

HELP Resources

HK Human Rights Monitor

Honduras Forum Switzerland

Hong Kong Unison Human Rights Alert

Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan

Human Rights Comitteee, Norwegian Psychological Association

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

Human Rights Defenders Network-SL

Human Rights House Foundation

Human Rights in China

Human Rights Law Centre

Human Rights Watch Humanists International IBAHRI

IDHEAS, Litigio Estratégico en Derechos Humanos-México

ILGA World ILGA-Europe Ilsb

IM Swedish Development Partner


Independent Medico- Legal Unit

Indigenous Movement for Peace Advancement and Conflict Transformation(IMPACT)

Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos (IM- Defensoras)

İnsan Hakları Derneği / Human Rights Association - Turkey

Instituto de liderazgo Simone de Beauvoir AC

International Action Network for Gender Equity & Law

International Association for Human Rights Advocacy in Geneva

International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)

International Commission of Jurists

International Council of Women

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

International Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers

International Indigenous Women's Forum

International Justice Resource Center

International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR)

International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT)

International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific

Intersex Human Rights Australia

investigacion para el desarrollo

Irish Council for Civil Liberties

Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights

Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society


Justice for Iran (JFI) Karapatan Philippines

Kenya Human Rights Commission

Klagsverband/Litigation Association of NGOs against discrimination


Las Reinas Chulas Cabaret Y Derechos Humanos AC

Latvian Human Rights Committee (FIDH)

League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)

Legal Resources Centre

Ligue Algerienne de Defense des Droits de l'Homme


Lutheran World Federation


Maharat Foundation MARUAH

Masimanyane Women's Right's International



Member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

MENA Rights Group

MenEngage Global Alliance

Minority Rights Group - Greece

Minotenk - minoritetspolitisk tenketank


Moroccan association for human rights

Movilización de Mujeres Negras por el Cuidado de Vida y los Territorios Ancestrales. Premio Goldman 2018

Mujeres Transformando el Mundo


Muslim Women’s Network UK

National Council of Women New Zealand


National Women's Council of Ireland

Nauru Island Association of NGOs

NGO Committe for CSW Latin America and the Caribbean

NGO Women for Development

NGO-Coordination post Beijing Switzerland

Noon Center for Women and Family Issues

North Wales Regional Equality Network

Norwegian Centre against Racism

Norwegian Helsinki Committee

Norwegian Humanist Association

Odhikar, Bangladesh ODRI intersectional rights

Okogun Odigie Safewomb International Foundation (OOSAIF)

Omega Research Foundation


Organisation Marocaine des Droits Humains

Oslo Metropolitan University (Oslomet)


OutRight Action International


Pacific Partnerships on Gender, Climate Change and Sustainable Development (PPGCCSD)


Palestinian Center for development And Media Freedoms-MADA

Partido Revolucionario Febrerista


PathFinders Limited

Peace Brigades International

Peace Foundation Pakistan

People's Watch - INDIA

Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates ( PAHRA)

Piattaforma CEDAW Italia Lavori in corsa

Plan International

Plataforma Internacional contra la Impunidad

Positive Women (Ukraine)

Pro Sentret

Proceso de Comunidades Negras

Project on Organizing, Development, Education and Research (PODER)

Promo LEX Association, Moldova


Radha Paudel Foundation


Reacción Climática

Reactor - Research in Action

REAMA Network network for the empowerment of women and self help support

REd de Educación Popular entre Mujesre REPEM -LAC

Red Nacional de Mujeres

- Colombia

Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos (conformada por 87

organizaciones de 23 entidades federativas de México)


Rescue Me-crime prevention

Réseau International des Droits Humains (RIDH)


RFSL - The Swedish Federation for LGBTQ Rights

Rights for All Women

Rivers without Boundaries International Coalition

Roma Future z.s. ROMEA

Saami Council Sayoni, Singapore Secretary

Shah-Aiym Network

Shirkat Gah Women's Resource Centre

Sistren Theatre Collective


Solidarity Netowork with Migrants Japan

SOS Children's Villages International

Spatium Libertas AC Spiralis z.s.

STIR: Stop Institutional Racism

Success Capital Organisation

Swedish Muslims in Cooperation Network

Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM)

Syrian Network for Human Rights

Tafawuq Consulting Center for Development

Tais Plus

Taternes Landsforening TEDS Trust

Teresian Association Terra Mater

The Advocates for Human Rights

The Canada OPCAT Project

The Egyptian initiative for personal rights (EIPR)

The MiRA Resource Center for black, migrant and refugee women

The MiRA Resource Center for black, migrant and refugee women in Norway

The Negev Coexistence Forum

The Norwegian Bar Association Human Rights Comittee

The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions


The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara

The Regional Diversity Roundtable

The YP Foundation Think Young Women

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy

TRIAL International Trócaire

Tunisian Human Rights League

UN Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA)


Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanas - Guatemala

United Nations Association of Norway

University University of Kent

University Of The West Indies

UPR Info

US Human Rights Network

Uthema Maldives

Validity Foundation - Mental Disability Advocacy Centre

Vision Spring Initiatives

Vzájemně soužití (Life Together)

Wenshe Centre for Human Rights Education


Woman Inc (Woman Incorporated)

Women Against Rape Inc.


Women and Media Collective

Women Peace Network (32701)

Women's Active Museum on War and Peace(WAM)

Women's Human Rights Education Institute

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Women's Rights Center

Women’s International Solutions for Equality (A WISE Network)

Women´s Link Worldwide

World Organisation Against Torture


Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina

YWCA Canada


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